Monday, December 17, 2012

Honey Pots / Honey Jars by DirtKicker Pottery

Raindrops on Roses Honey Pot
by DirtKicker Pottery

I love local organic honey.   It's so good for allergies.  We have hills covered in sage brush and rabbit brush and when it blooms it causes such bad allergies... sinus headache, itchy eyes, sneezing.   I discovered that if I use some of that local honey in my tea, I don't get allergies so bad.   It's awesome and yummy too.

Vintage Rose Honey Pot
by DirtKicker Pottery

Wheel thrown honey pots are adorable and convenient.

Sunflower Honey Pot
by DirtKicker Pottery

Visit my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop to see honey pots in stock.  If I'm out of stock, don't worry, I usually include honey pots in each kiln firing.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Super Cute Small Berry Bowls

Blueberry Berry Bowl
by DirtKicker Pottery

A few weeks ago I blogged about this adorable one-piece small berry bowls.  I wanted to share the finished results.  I absolutely love how they turned out.  
Raspberry Berry Bowl
by DirtKicker Pottery

I hope these will be a hit because I love making them, plus I have so many ideas for cute decorative details.

See pieces from my latest kiln opening.   

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Advancer Kiln Shelves Review

These are Advancer Kiln Shelves .   

- No kiln wash  (Most glaze drips scrape right off)
- Light weight
- Thin (more room in the kiln) 
- They don't warp
- They are strong - won't crack or chip

- Very expensive
- Heavy high fire Porcelain pieces can stick to the shelf

Since I use a porcelain blend, I just sprinkle a little Alumina Hydrate on the shelf before loading the ware.  Just to be on the safe side.  

The light weight shelves made loading the kiln so easy.  The dark color makes it easier to view the position of the pots. 

The surface of the shelves is a satin finish.  To the touch they feel like a coated frying pan surface.

Without these shelves I would need help to load and unload my kiln.  I have neck and back problems.  I can't lift the big kiln shelves anymore.
I love Advancer Shelves!

*  UPDATE:  2/14/2014:
I've been using these shelves for over a year and I've never had a problem with my cone 6 porcelain ware sticking to the shelves.   I love, love, love these shelves!

*  UPDATE #2:  11/29/2015:
I've been using the shelves for 3 years and I can't ever imagine going back to standard kiln shelves.  No problems at all, just awesome performing kiln shelves.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Small Berry Bowl

One-piece berry bowl
by DirtKicker Pottery

I think of berry bowls as mostly a summer item, but I've had this attached base design in my head for a couple days and I just had to make it. I do love how it turned out. 

This cutie was thrown with 1 pound of clay.   It's one piece and has drain holes near the base of the bowl.  I threw it kind of thin, so it's actually pretty good size.  It should fit a container of blueberries or raspberries.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Heart Shaped Nesting Bowls

Country Heart Nesting Bowls
by DirtKicker Pottery

Is food really the way to a man's heart?   Of course it is.    No matter how crappy of a day my husband might have, making him a really yummy dinner can turn his frown upside-down. 

These heart nesting bowls turned out very sweet and they stack nicely.  I must have taken 50 photos of them.  I just get carried away with lighting and staging.   It's a good thing I'm not a photographer, I would drive my self nuts.

Nesting bowls will be listed in my Etsy Shop within a day or so.   I hope you will stop by and take a look :)


Monday, October 15, 2012

Covered Butter Dishes by DirtKicker Pottery

Sunflower Butter Dish in Rustic Blue
DirtKicker Pottery

I always seem to make the things that I really need.. but after I'm finished making the item, I feel compelled to sell it, and then I'm left without the thing that I really needed. 

These covered butter dishes are handbuilt.  Not something that I can just whip together really quick.  They take time to make and time and pampering to dry straight and without warping.

Rustic Heart Butter Dish in Country White
DirtKicker Pottery

I will be including covered butter dishes as a regular item in my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop.  If I'm running low on stock, don't worry, I will have more in my next firing.

Rustic Victorian Butter Dish
DirtKicker Pottery

Thursday, September 20, 2012

DIY Trimming Shield for the Quick Trim II

I purchased the Quick Trim II a few weeks ago.  After the first use I was on a mission to figure out a way to control the flying trimmings.   

I went online and found nothing commercially made for the problem.  I did  find a few potters getting creative with garbage cans and card board boxes.   My saving grace was a facebook message from Nancy Braches at Hill Top Pottery.  She shared her idea of using a thin plastic shelf liner.  Nancy's installation is different from mine.  She did some cutting of the plastic and installed the shield directly inside the splash pan.  If you want to see it, check out her Facebook page.


I decided to attach the shield on the outside of the splash pan.  I used a bungie cord to hold it snug.   I purchased the shelf liner online from Global Industrial.  It cost $8.25 plus shipping.    The size I ordered is 36" x 18" and I didn't need to make any modifications at all.    The bungie cord I bought at Walmart in the sports department.      

This Trim Shield worked just awesome!!!    Easy to set up and easy to take down.

The Quick Trim II is very easy and versatile.  I just love it. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rustic Blue Pottery Piggy Bank

Rustic Blue Pottery Piggy Bank 9-4-12

Country Rose Mug and
Rustic Piggy Bank, by DirtKicker Pottery

A couple cute new pieces from this mornings kiln.

Coming soon to DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

organizing glaze chemicals

This week I've been working on organizing my glaze chemicals. John bought me a nice cabinet and containers for my birthday. My retired potter friend Jack, gifted me his collection of glaze chemicals, which included several materials that are no longer available. 

I used my spray booth to help keep the dust contained while transferring the materials from old paper bags and coffee cans to new clear plastic containers.  It worked so well that I probably didn't need a mask, but I used one anyway. Can't be too safe, right?

Most of my containers are from Walmart. More than I really wanted to pay, but when I went online to order in bulk, it wasn't must less, plus the shipping was crazy expensive.

With my small materials collection added to Jack's 40 year collection, I feel that I have a excellent base to start doing some serious glaze testing.

Making my own glaze has been a goal of mine for a long while. I just haven't had the patience to really jump in. I have a few base recipes picked out and I'm going to start experimenting slowly.  "GlazeMaster" should help me keep the glazes safe.  Hopefully along the way the pieces of the puzzle will come together.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Celtic Goblets - BRAVE Movie

Celtic Goblets

My Daughter Bobbi and I have been looking forward to Disney's "Brave" movie for weeks.   We finally went to see it and it was great!   I made these goblets with the "Brave" movie in mind. 
I have a love for the Celtic style.  I think it's in my blood.  My Great Grandfather was a glass artist from Ireland.  My Great Grandma was a firey redhead from Glasgow Scotland.  I'm pretty sure they would have loved these goblets too.
I'm not a big fan of the hollow base chalice style goblet, mostly because when I make them, they end up looking like the leaning tower of pisa. 


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

bringing a little nature into the picture

Rainy Day Mug
by DirtKicker Pottery

At the start of my pottery journey I lived to throw.  Throwing was my favorite part of the process.   Then I fell in love with surface treatments..  then glazing.   I guess taking photos isn't really part of the making process, but it is part of the selling process.   So it's important to find inspiration and joy in my photo shoots.

I originally started with bringing fresh flowers into my photos.  Flowers always lift my mood, so every making cycle had to include a vase or two.  Then last year we went to Sand Harbor Beach at Lake Tahoe a lot.  One visit I found a piece of drift wood that I really wanted use in making a sign for my pottery studio.   That piece was so rustic and wonderful I decided to set a mug on and snap a few shots.  Sure enough.. I loved the results.  I'm not sure if other people love it, but who cares, i love it.
Country Style Rice Bowls

Taking pottery shots outside in natural light is my favorite, but the lighting has to be perfect and lugging pots outside is a pain.   Also too much messing around with the camera settings.  So I decided to bring some beautiful rocks into my photo cube.   My pottery got to hike and hang out on some cool Lake Tahoe rocks.  I love the results.   Again, not for everyone, but it works for me.   

Rustic Garden Mug

Earlier this week I did entertain the idea of getting a white background, but the idea just couldn't go anywhere creative for me, so i went another direction.

The above pottery and other cool pots can be purchase at my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop! 

All designs, photos and content herein are owned by and ©copyright Cindy Gilliland 2012.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

be inspired, but make it your own

Starry Night Vase   

I am often inspired by other artists (hence VanGogh's Starry Night).   I ask myself how can I take "my feelings" of VanGogh's painting and put them into making a vase or mug or platter?    If you can reach into your feelings, you can be inspired by anything.  Nature, heart break, music, love, art, need..  anything.   Learning to tap into your own creativity will result in a piece that is inspired, but also unique to you.  The coolest part is that the piece will emit your feelings.   

There is a huge difference between "inspiration" and "duplication".  I don't believe that an artist can "duplicate" the work of another artist and truly be satisfied.

I can't imagine why anyone would want to miss out on the creative process. That's where the intrigue and satisfaction comes in for me.  Taking time and risks that results in something special, brings heart to the piece.

I have many customers who tell me that when they use my pottery it makes them feel happy.  I am convinced that the love I have for making pottery flows though the piece to the person who uses it.

I think anyone can learn to make an empty pot, but an artist can make an empty pot feel full.  

I make my Starry Night Series Pottery at least once a year.  Check my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Charm Necklaces ~ Ceramic Pendant Necklaces

 Purple Heart Charm Necklace

I have been wearing one of my charm necklaces and I sure get the comments.   It's cute and casual.  I made the pendants very light weight.  It's so comfortable too.  The beautiful little Swarovski Crystal charm really adds an element of sparkle and magic to the piece.    

Teal Flower Pendant

I really lucked out on the Swarovski Crystals.   Lucky, but sad, because my long time local bead store is going out of business and their entire inventory was on clearance.  So I got a good buy on the crystals.

Country Heart Charm Necklace
by DirtKicker Pottery

I really enjoyed putting these adorable necklaces together.   I hope they will be a hit on Etsy so I can hurry and make some more :)   

Rustic Patina Heart Pendant

Check out my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop for sweet pottery!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nesting Bowls

Nesting Bowl Set
by DirtKicker Pottery

I love making Nesting Bowls!  For some reason they always turn out really nice.   If we were talking about teapots, now that is an entirely different story.  I can't make a flawless teapot to save my life.
The balance of height and width is as perfect as I would want them to be.  
The outer surface of the bowls have a frosty crackle effect.  I love the results.
The rim shape isn't just cool to look at, the twist can be used as a handle or even a pouring spout.

Like most of my pottery, these bowls have a country cottage style.

These bowls and other cool pottery are available for purchase in my Etsy Shop :)

All designs, photos and contnet herein are ©Copyright Cindy Gilliland 2012.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Designing and making a Yarn Bowl

Yarn bowls are a hot item right now.  I had never made them before.  These two are fresh from the kiln.  I started the process with making a few drawings to get some ideas about design and size. 
There are so many ways to make a yarn bowl unique.   It best to take the time to make it great and make it your own :)

After trimming my bowl, I got a piece of paper and practiced drawing the swirl and when I felt comfortable, I used a stylus and free handed a swirl on my leather hard bowl. 

I used an X-acto knife to cut out the swirl.  I started at the top, but then decided I should begin at the middle of the swirl since that is the most delicate area and needs the most support.

I used a piece of foam to lean the bowl on while making the cuts.  I used a damp sponge to clean up and smooth down the sharp edges. 
I was concerned about the fragile swirl drying too fast in the dry Nevada air, so I coated both sides of the swirl and rim with wax resist.  

I covered the yarn bowls in plastic in such a way that they were supported to help them dry without warping.   At bone dry they were perfect, but after bisque firing I noticed a tiny bit of warping at the rim and swirl.

After glaze firing I notice more warping on the bowl with the larger swirl. 

I had fun and I learned a lot making these first bowls.  I will definately be making design changes and more yarn bowls.

Check out my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy shop for cute yarn bowls and other adorable pottery.

All designs, photos and content herein are owned by and ©copyright Cindy Gilliland 2012.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Plaster Bowl for Reclaiming Clay Slurry

This is a continuation from my Plaster Slurry Bowl post.

As the bowl was drying it became apparent that the surface wasn't going to heal hard enough to use for reclaiming clay. When plaster isn't smooth it has a tendency to flake and crumble.
Since the bowl was still somewhat damp, John suggested that I attempt trimming out the uneven surface and air bubbles. (I would not suggest trimming dry plaster for obvious reasons).

Trimming plaster isn't much different than trimming clay, except plaster doesn't ribbon off, it just make little flakes.  I used a vacuum with  hepa filter to collect the trimmings.  After trimming I used a metal rib and burnished the heck out of the surface.
The result was very good!! Yea! The surface was smooth and hard.

UPDATE:  The bowl worked well for reclaiming slurry.

All designs, photos and written content herein are owned by and ©copyright Cindy Gilliland 2012.